When you last snacked on some almonds, you may not have given much thought to how they were harvested and made ready for your consumption. However, like almost all food and beverages, on their journey to your snack bowl, they encountered some stainless steel bearing equipment.
Australia is a dominant producer of almonds, with the Murray Darling region accounting for almost a third of production. Kooba, located a few kilometres south of Griffith in south-central New South Wales and off the Murrumbidgee River, is the site of a large almond orchard having received significant recent investment.
Irrigation is critical to growing almonds, and water usage can reach up to 14ML per hectare. ASSDA Member Custom Built Stainless, through their sister company and installer Irribiz, was commissioned to fabricate a range of dam water delivery systems for the efficient growth of these almonds. The scope of works included on-site valve banks, pump stations and fertigation (a process of delivering dissolved fertiliser through irrigation supply) systems, with stainless steel featuring heavily as a material of construction.
ICI Industries' (parents company of Custom Built Stainless and Irribiz) Engineering Manager Vernon Green said, "A key element of supporting the business case for using stainless steel versus PVC and Poly Ethylene was the long-term value, with other factors taken into consideration including the aesthetic appearance and environmental sustainability".
Around 7 tonnes of grade 304 and 316 stainless steel pipe in sizes ranging from 50mm to 600mm diameter was supplied by fellow ASSDA Member A&G Engineering. Welding was completed in accordance with AWS D18.1: Specification of Welding Austenitic Stainless Steel Tube and Pipe Systems in Sanitary (Hygienic) Applications and AS 4041: Pressure Piping. Walkways were also manufactured from grade 316, with all stainless components pickled and passivated prior to installation.
As the world continues to work through severe drought conditions and water supply issues, projects being designed to be as efficient as possible in water use will continue to rely on the longevity, durability, and life-cycle benefits of stainless steel.
This article was featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 76 (2022).